Sto­ry­time

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Books -

BEAUCHAMP HALL by Danielle Steel, Pan Macmil­lan

Win­nie, 38, was a good daugh­ter. She had dreams to work for a New York pub­lisher, but stayed in small town Michi­gan to nurse her mother. When she died, Win­nie took a job at the lo­cal prin­ters for un­grate­ful boss Hamm. She’s a de­voted sis­ter to Marje, and an un­be­liev­ably tol­er­ant girl­friend for 11 years to Rob. He is lazy, a drunk, for­gets her birth­day ... oh, and likes her to watch porn DVDs with him. Now she’s just been over­looked for a pro­mo­tion for the 21-year-old who is sleep­ing with the boss. Quit­ting, she comes home to find best friend Barb tied up on her bed with Rob act­ing out a DVD. Barb did in­tro­duce her to Beauchamp Hall though; a Bri­tish aris­to­cratic TV se­ries. Hooked Win­nie has found a place and dreams can come true.

TELL ME YOU’RE MINE by Elis­a­beth Nore­back, Allen & Un­win

Star­tling Scandi novel noir about a psy­chother­a­pist who is pos­i­tive a client is the daugh­ter who vanished as a baby 21 years ago. When “Is­abelle” walks into Stella’s of­fice, the psy­chol­o­gist sees the Stock­holm tech­nol­ogy stu­dent’s dim­ple and pointy ear­lobe as iden­ti­fi­able birth­marks. Is­abelle’s adop­tive fa­ther has died and she is be­reaved and an­gry. In jar­ring, in­ter­ject­ing chap­ters be­tween Stella, Is­abelle’s mother Ker­stin and Is­abelle, the lat­ter seethes, “I will never for­give her for what she did ... I wish she was dead.” But is she talk­ing about Stella or the mother who raised her? At 17 Stella fell preg­nant to Daniel. They take a hol­i­day on the coast with baby Alice. “I wasn’t away long. She was sleep­ing in her red pram.” As­sumed drowned, no body was found. Crack­ing thriller.

THE LAST DAYS OF THE RO­MANOV DANCERS by Kerri Turner, Har­lequin

Set be­tween 1914 and 1918, Rus­sia is fac­ing a revo­lu­tion. At the home of the Im­pe­rial Rus­sian Bal­let, fusty scenery, painful corsets and bark­ing bal­let mas­ters have ruled since “Pet­ro­grad” was St Peters­burg. Corps bal­leri­nas sit knit­ting, await­ing Prima Bal­le­rina Ab­so­lut, Mathilde, crown jewel of the com­pany. She is un­der the wings of the Ro­manov royal fam­ily and ad­viser, monk Rasputin. Dancer Valentina’s lover Luka comes from a poor fam­ily, but his fa­ther is em­bar­rassed he is a dancer, not a sol­dier. At a per­for­mance for in­jured sol­diers, only Rasputin ap­plauds: “Spec­ta­cles like this keep the coun­try poor,” peo­ple chant. Luka es­capes to Paris with Di­aghilev’s itin­er­ant

Bal­lets Russes, while the Ro­manov’s dancers fade, but are not for­got­ten.

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